Thursday, February 15, 2018

Off Topic: Using Google Image Search

Suppose you have an image. Let's say, for sake of argument it's this image:

Let's pretend that we know nothing about the image. We want to find out some information about the picture. Enter Google Image Search.

First off, click on this little camera button:

That pops up this box that you can use to provide Google with an image.

You can give Google a link to the image, or upload one from your computer. Once you do that, either by entering a URL and pressing the blue "Search by image" button, or by uploading an image, it will take you to the results page, which looks something like this:

The best guess is the result of Google's algorithm looking for similar images, and attempting to determine what's in the image. Lower down on the results page, you'll find images that are visually similar, and other things.

I've used this in the past to find attribution for memes that float around on the internet. See a funny cartoon, that someone removed the artist's information from? Google image search will probably find it.

Wonder if someone has scraped your website and is hosting your images for fun and profit? Google knows.

It's not perfect, and will struggle with some things, but it's generally pretty good. Image recognition is one of the harder problems of computer science.

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